- 15 Apr 21
A golden voice from lockdown Ireland.
American folk singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens first came to attention as a founder of the quaintly named Carolina Chocolate Drops. They’re Calling Me Home – her sixth solo album – was recorded under quarantine in Ireland, and reveals her uncanny ability to encompass many diverse strands of music. She evokes the feisty spirit, if not the style, of Nina Simone.
Giddens’ wordless singing on ‘Amazing Grace’ prefaces some spine-tingling pipework from Emer Mayock, making for a powerful listen. She also breathes new life into a chilling version of the traditional American folk song ‘O Death’, with her stirring vocals set against ominous percussion.
Her voice soars again on the elegant title-track, this time over a drone-based backing track. The instrumental ‘Niwel Goes To Town’ has a West African feel, with the titular Niwel Tsumbu – long domiciled in Ireland from the Congo – adding some impressive guitar. That feel is also present in Giddens’ own song ‘Avalon’, which incorporates many different musical styles from around the globe.
They’re Calling Me Home is a fine record from a major talent. You’re welcome to stay in Ireland, Rhiannon!